Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Azlan roars to Bluenose Classic victory

RESULTS: PSA International 50 Bluenose Classic, Halifax, Canada

[2] Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS) bt [3] Hisham Mohd Ashour (EGY) 11-8, 8-11, 11-9, 11-7 (53m)

Iskandar Claims Bluenose Classic Crown

Malaysia’s Azlan Iskandar claimed the second biggest title of his career when he beat Egypt’s Hisham Ashour in the final of the Bluenose Classic, the PSA World Tour International 50 squash event in its sixth year at St Mary’s University in Halifax in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia.

It was the pair’s sixth Tour meeting in the last six years, with the 28-year-old from Kuala Lumpur boasting a 4/1 lead. But third seed Ashour has enjoyed the best phase of his career since their previous clash in March 2009, and now boasts a career-high world No17 ranking – just four places below Iskandar.

After the first two games were shared, second seed Iskandar moved ahead after winning the third.

“To start game four, it was all Iskandar as he quickly mounted a 6-2 lead as Ashour’s aggressiveness was causing many of his shots to clip the tin,” said event spokesman Jon Boody. “Over the next three points, Ashour was awarded a stroke and hit two off-speed backhand winning drives to pull within one point at 5-6. A crosscourt slam from Iskandar put the score at 7-5.

“The next two rallies were dominated by Ashour to tie the game at 7-all. With the score even, Iskandar took control of the game as his unrelenting retrieval abilities contributed to long rallies over the next four points which ended in a front left corner kill shot and three Ashour balls into the tin.”

Iskandar’s 11-8, 8-11, 11-9, 11-7 victory in 53 minutes gives the Asian champion the 14th Tour title of his career – but his first in Canada.

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